As a writer it is hard for me not to “help” my kid with their essays. I do remind them of what a paragraph looks like and then remind them to have a beginning, middle and an end. The writing part isn’t the hard part but the organizing your thoughts into words and then onto paper can be–STRESSFULL!!! So I’ve come up with a few ideas that help me retain my sanity when I’m teaching writing or coaching a child with an assignment. I’ll be honest when I say that I coach my kids in writing, math, reading–like any coach–I’m not “doing it for them”, I am giving them the tools and the practice that they need.
I try not to make writing a chore but I have used it as a discipline. “The door is not a toy!” 100 times will make anyone think twice about slamming the door again or making the door part of the game. When my kids get bigger (8) I make them write essays on “Why I have chosen to speak unkindly to my Mother”, “Why the door does not make a good toy”, or “100 thinks I like about _____”. I love that one! Not only does it give your child a change to work on his writing but often times it gives you 100 talking points! The essays that my son writes give me insight into how he feels, thinks, and sees his life–at that moment.
Use Post It Notes
I have my kids write out all of the wonderful ideas that they have and then we assemble them in some sort of order. This can be challenging for me to back away and let them figure it out–for us it seems so simple but for kids to think in a logical sequence can be very difficult. I often walk away–when I had babies the excuses were easier to come up with–diaper changes, nursing the baby, nap time, but now I have a whole new set–I need to water the plants, I need to start dinner, I have to check my blog stats . . .
In the beginning of the kids writing career I will use post its of different colors and I will write down their ideas. I coordinate topics with a fun color. I still let them put them in an order that makes sense to them and see if they figure out that all the colors should be together. Not a fool-proof system but another layer of adding a visual component.
When I first began homeschooling my son he did a lot of writing but his mind went way faster than his pencil. This is still an issue so it must just be how he was created! My solution was to film him. I used a Flip camera and then downloaded it to the computer so he could watch it over and over as he created his story. In doing this he could write exactly where his mind was going. What would often happen is he would get more inspiration and then go back and add more details to his work. His mind works in a visual way and capturing his ideas like this was a great fit for him.
Often when kids have slow processing skills this is a great way to go. I must confess I’m sort of this way as well–I feel like I’m being rushed when I’m given phone numbers or even names. If we can give our kids the tools to achieve what is expected of them–in their own way–everyone wins. The hard part is realizing what our kids need. Stopping to really listen to, observe, inquire in a patient way is difficult–not gonna lie, but I think that in the long run our kids will benefit from our taking the time.
Penmanship and handwriting are required activities in this house every day. This past summer the kids kept a gratitude journal and each day EVERY DAY they wrote down 3 things that they were thankful for. If they skipped a day then they wrote 6 the next day. I really value the handwritten word. Sometimes it is just so much faster to type than it is to write yet I think writing is such a lost art.
I love to give hand written notes. I’ll be honest again and say that I have been the worst in sending out thank you cards the last few years. I write them and then I sent them out way, way, later–sometimes months and just recently I sent out a thank you a year late!!! A year late!! Maybe I’ll write an entire post just on that!
Ideas for getting kids to write:
- Make the grocery list.
- Plan the meals for a week.
- Keep a log of the books read.
- Keep a gratitude journal.
- Wish List
- Bucket List
- Goals List
- What I want to do during quiet time list.
- Make a seating chart for a family holiday.
- Top Ten Lists! Who doesn’t love that?
Today I’m linking up with this wonderful bloggers!